Posted on November 23, 2016
1st semester summary (2016-2017)
Character Education -- Grade 5
Nurturing and guiding our children in their emotion and spiritual growth is the emphasis of our Character Education program. The basic goodness that is inherent within each person is nurtured in a safe and loving environment. Within this environment, individual questions, feelings, and ideas are encouraged and honored. Immersion in a variety of rich learning experiences appropriate for each age group are offered to allow our children opportunities for exploring, developing, and reflecting on their understanding of the values of love and respect for self, others, and the environment.
Some of these experiences include going on field trips, listening to guest speakers, reading a variety of stories from World Literature, participating in chapel services, doing role play, journal writing, puppet skits, sharing feelings, and numerous service projects within our school and community. Our children are encouraged to explore their understanding of goodness and share this through service with others. Our Peace Education program promotes an interactive and experiential approach to learning conflict resolution and peer mediation skills, and allows time for personal reflection on how to foster peaceful relationships with others.
Each class begins with "Golden Moment," a brief period of quiet to calm our mind and relax our body. This is followed by "Ohana (family) Circle," a time for sharing our feelings. We use a "talking piece," such as a shell, to take turns sharing and listening to each other's feelings and thoughts in a special way. This allows every child a chance to express what is in his/her heart and also practice active listening when others are speaking.
In Grade 5, our focus is on developing personal leadership skills through service learning by integrating Character Education and Art in an exploration of character development. We experimented on how to listen and practice patience with partner drawing exercises. We explored what it means to be mindful by researching and practiced mindfulness in lying and seated positions, and we experienced mindful drawing. Creating an Inside/Outside self-portrait gave us an opportunity to reflect on what others may assume about us, rather than getting to know us well. In turn, this also provided time for us to think about how we may perceive others. Exploring who we are, especially what we value, how we feel, and how we relate to others are important to our social and emotional growth. This semester's combined study of mindfulness and self-reflection allows us to be more effective, compassionate leaders.
To prepare for our year of service on Peace Team, we brainstormed how we can help our school community, performed role plays of what to do to help, and visited the preschool and kindergarten to find ways of helping during lunch and nap time. We devoted class time to reflecting on the various thoughts, challenges, and feelings faced when being of service, and personal lessons learned. Many of the fifth graders reflected that when helping they feel accomplished or happy to know they have solved a problem, though still learning to become comfortable in their new roles as campus leaders. Throughout the second semester, we will continue to reflect on what leadership means in order to become more confident and capable in this role.